What 2020 was like…

It is neither too late nor too early to talk about 2020.

For long I’ve kept the repercussions under wrap because almost everyone feels the same as I do. Caught in the same whirlwind, agonized by similar trials…basically, for once in a lifetime, territories, regions, boundaries…do not matter. We all feel pretty much the same.

Pardon me, I am herein going to talk about me.

It is difficult to not generalize when you’re writing for others to read. It’s like every word that you write is being watched, scrutinized….and Phew! I have not even begun yet.

I realize how cumbersome it must be to write about oneself. We hardly ever peep into our core. As I ponder so, all autobiographies that I’ve read to date scroll in the mind in a whiff. The strongest of them was “Raseedi Ticket” by Amrita Pritam…Well, more about it later.

The Jolts and the Rush
Well, for one, the surge and subsequent lockdown in April last year was a jolt. I had just finished with the checking of Board Examination Answer Sheets and the lockdown came into being. The days following it were spent in fear of probably having contracted the Virus…..a little body temperature, sneezing….set off an alarm. No, I don’t want to go back there. It just suffices that I am out of that phase.

PowerPoint and Web Camera
Huh, in all of my teaching experience, I was never dependent on the screen to satiate my students’ curiosity. But this time, the school management had to be satisfied more than the students. My kids knew me well already and cooperated like angels. PowerPoint was all over, strewn about my life like the air we breathe. How will I teach the poem? Are the Slides ready?

Hell…..Robert Frost is more than that. I believed I could reincarnate Lord Alfred Tennyson in a live physical classroom. But this, this silence on the other end of the screen was unnerving, to say the least.

Lured to give up work, almost at the brink
The pressures of coping with altered teaching strategies led me to believe I no more need this. I will call it quits. But, every day, some random query, the helplessness of parents, students….made me stick around. The kids needed us more than ever. Deferred salaries, insane working hours, unrealistic expectations…..nothing deterred the forward push, and we went on, like soldiers on the Frontline, keeping our mental turmoil at bay. The country was at stake. This was not the right time to quit.

Writing took the front-seat

The only friend that didn’t turn it’s back was the words. They came back, with more effervescence than ever. I returned here, to blogging and poetry. My first love-the verses.

Dealt with Seniors at work more openly
Here, the picture altered like anything. If at all, the management was equally flustered and depended on us as the frontline warriors. They sought us out to seek shelter. We could express ourselves better in Online Meets. They ached to have us back on the school campus. For once, it hit home, that the school was not merely the Playground, the edifice, or the beautiful Garden. Humans were missing. That hit real hard.

Went live on Facebook for the first time

Ok, this was challenging. I had to interview a great method artist on behalf of the school as an Art Fest initiative. Grooming had taken a backseat last year. Presenting myself to a vast audience Online was a challenge. Nevertheless, it was met with arduous prep and the interaction was…wonderful, to say the least.

Intolerance also took a backseat. That we were in this together was a big deal and is….till date. There still seems to be a lump in the throat, like all has not been spoken and remains tucked within layers and layers of the Antarctic snow.

Am I exaggerating? Tell me, if you don’t relate. 2021 seems worse…we have lost precious souls in the wake of the second wave.

If 2020 was the threshold to drastic changes, let 2021 be the end of it all.

Unmasked, Undeterred… Undone. Period.

Where are we?

Will we ever know what it takes

To maintain our sanctum

Will we ever know how far the horizon is

And from whence this hum

When we had it all,

We had no clue

Whilst we gave it away

We realised what was due

Were we normal then

Or is this the reality

We longed to be home

Amidst some sanity

Now that the world has shrunk

And shields itself in masks

We suddenly want to ride all waves

Claiming to achieve impossible tasks

Oh! Is the the end

Or the heralding of a new world

Is this what we fathomed

Of how fate swirled

All of a sudden

Flashes of days begone

Of mirthful glee return

In waves and flashes

The sojourn within has just begun.

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